Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Antinous the Gay God


THE GOD OF HOMOSEXUALITY
Antinous The Beautiful
His face is full of Grace,
His Countenance is Beautiful.
The Restorer, The New Dionysus
Whose Salvation Has been Accomplished
He has again been Raised to Life.










Temple of Antinous
The Sacred Antinous
Virtual Museum: Antinous Portraits
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Get a free "Queer the Census" sticker!

Dear Friend,

The census is not necessarily the topic you've been waiting to hear about, I know, but bear with me for a moment.

It's coming up in March or April, and while it's supposed to be an accurate count of everyone in the country, there's no question that asks if someone is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

This is a huge problem. The data collected has a direct impact on issues that are critical to every American - issues like health care, economic stability, safety. And when LGBT people are not counted, individuals, families, and communities suffer.

The good news is that we can change this. Join me and sign the petition from CREDO Action and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force urging the Census Bureau to make sure everyone is counted.

http://act.credoaction.com/sticker/queerthecensus?r_by=-2704780-1O74N7x

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Roman Homosexuality: Second Edition

Craig A. Williams

Editorial Reviews

Review


"This book may do more for the understanding of classical sexuality than any since Kenneth Dover's Greek Homosexuality of twenty years ago."--Times Literary Supplement
"This is an important and ground-breaking study."--Choice
"This book by Craig A. Williams combines lucid analysis of the protocols governing male sexual behavior in ancient Rome with comprehensive documentation from literary sources.... It is a landmark work of scholarship and should prove accessible to scholars of all disciplines."--American Historical Review
"This indispensable book persuasively sets forth gender identity, not sexual orientation, as the fulcrum of male sexual significance in Roman society."--Religious Studies Review

Product Description

Ten years after its original publication, Roman Homosexuality remains the definitive statement of this interesting but often misunderstood aspect of Roman culture. Learned yet accessible, the book has reached both students and general readers with an interest in ancient sexuality. This second edition features a new foreword by Martha Nussbaum, a completely rewritten introduction that takes account of new developments in the field, a rewritten and expanded appendix on ancient images of sexuality, and an updated bibliography.


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1950s Education on "Homosexuals"

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rennyo and the Roots of Modern Japanese Buddhism



Editorial Reviews

Review

"In Japan's turbulent fifteenth century, the gifted proselytizer Rennyo rebuilt his relatively small following, the Shin Buddhist Honganji lineage, into a formidable nationwide organization. Drawing together new research from both Japanese and Western scholars and representing a range of methodological perspectives, this collection of essays sheds valuable light on Rennyo's place in the social, political, and religious transformations of his day and the meaning of his legacy for contemporary Japanese Buddhism. This volume will benefit scholars and students of Japanese religion as well as others interested in Shin Buddhist history and thought or in issues in the formation and legitimation of religious traditions."--Jacqueline I. Stone, Princeton University, author ofOriginal Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism

"The history of Shin Buddhism, Japan's massive Buddhist school, can be divided into two halves: first, when it was a peripheral and inconsequential Buddhist movement, and second, when it emerged as a religious institution of unparalleled success and influence. The dividing point between the two was Rennyo, the leader of its head temple, Honganji, in the late fifteen century. This volume is a selection of recent and top-tier scholarship on Rennyo. It elucidates his many achievements and the lasting effects he has had on Shin Buddhism and Japanese religion as a whole. Many aspects of Rennyo's life, activities, and religious thought are explored in a depth previously unavailable in English. In the end, Rennyo emerges as a kaleidoscopic figure through which we can see better the character of Shin Buddhism and the development of Japan's religious traditions."--James C. Dobbins author of Jodo Shinshu: Shin Buddhism in Medieval Japan


"In Japan's turbulent fifteenth century, the gifted proselytizer Rennyo rebuilt his relatively small following, the Shin Buddhist Honganji lineage, into a formidable nationwide organization. Drawing together new research from both Japanese and Western scholars and representing a range of methodological perspectives, this collection of essays sheds valuable light on Rennyo's place in the social, political, and religious transformations of his day and the meaning of his legacy for contemporary Japanese Buddhism. This volume will benefit scholars and students of Japanese religion as well as others interested in Shin Buddhist history and thought or in issues in the formation and legitimation of religious traditions." --Jacqueline I. Stone, Princeton University, author of Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism
"The history of Shin Buddhism, Japan's massive Buddhist school, can be divided into two halves: first, when it was a peripheral and inconsequential Buddhist movement, and second, when it emerged as a religious institution of unparalleled success and influence. The dividing point between the two was Rennyo, the leader of its head temple, Honganji, in the late fifteen century. This volume is a selection of recent and top-tier scholarship on Rennyo. It elucidates his many achievements and the lasting effects he has had on Shin Buddhism and Japanese religion as a whole. Many aspects of Rennyo's life, activities, and religious thought are explored in a depth previously unavailable in English. In the end, Rennyo emerges as a kaleidoscopic figure through which we can see better the character of Shin Buddhism and the development of Japan's religious traditions."--James C. Dobbins, author of Jodo Shinshu: Shin Buddhism in Medieval Japan

Product Description

Rennyo is undeniably one of the most influential persons in the history of Japanese religion and yet his thought remains somewhat enigmatic from the standpoint of what is considered orthodox Shinshu doctrine today. This book, which collects ten unpublished essays by both Japanese and non-Japanese scholars, will be the first to confront many of the major questions surrounding the phenomenal growth of Honganji under Rennyo's leadership, such as the source of his charisma, the soteriological implications of his thought against the background of other movements in Pure Land Buddhism, and the relationship between his ideas and the growth of his church. The volume is intended as an important first step in expanding the field of Rennyo studies outside Japan, and to provide significant stimulus to the fields of Japanese religion, Japanese social history, comparative religion, and sociology of religion.


Originally posted on Buddha Torrents
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NPR.org - Jesus And The Hidden Contradictions Of The Gospels



March 12, 2010
Bible scholar Bart Ehrman began his studies at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Originally an evangelical Christian, Ehrman believed that the Bible was the inerrant word of God. But later, as a student at Princeton Theological Seminary, Ehrman started reading the Bible with a more historical approach and analyzing contradictions in the Gospels.
Ehrman, the author of Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them), tells Terry Gross that he discourages readers from "smash[ing] the four Gospels into one big Gospel and think[ing] that [they] get the true understanding."
"When Matthew was writing, he didn't intend for somebody ... to interpret his Gospel in light of what some other author said. He had his own message," Ehrman says.
To illustrate the differences between the Gospels, Ehrman offers opposing depictions of Jesus talking about himself. In the book of John, Jesus talks about himself and proclaims who he is, saying "I am the bread of life." Whereas in Mark, Jesus teaches principally about the coming kingdom and hardly ever mentions himself directly. These differences offer clues into the perspectives of the authors, and the eras in which they wrote their respective Gospels, according to Ehrman.


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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Buddhism and the Romani



MARCH 7, 2010
by NellaLou
The Romani, referred to colloquially and often derogatorily as gypsies, number somewhere between 8 to 12 million living principally in Europe, but also in some areas of the Middle East and Asia. Census data is inexact due to many of the people’s stateless status. They have no discernible homeland although genetically and by culture it is speculated that their origins were somewhere in South Asia (India). While most are legitimate citizens of the countries in which they live in Europe, many are often not afforded the same level of consideration in terms of education, health care, rights and other amenities as the majority of citizens.
There have been some efforts by some states to assist the Romani in ameliorating some of the disparities however most efforts have been by NGOs and some religious groups including the FWBO-Friends of the Western Buddhist OrderHere are a series of reports from that group on their efforts in Hungary.
The ties between the FWBO and the Ambedkar Buddhists in India are quite deep and mutually influential. Here is some information about the Ambedkar Buddhists in India.
Each year in India tens of thousands of Dalits (formerly called untouchables) convert to Buddhism and reject the caste system and its discrimination. There is a national holiday in India in the name of Dr. Ambedkar.  Dr. Ambedkar’s approach is now being taken up by the Roma (gypsies) in Hungary in light of their ancestral connections to India and the pervasive discrimination they face in Europe. Here’s a little information about Dr. Ambedkar.
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar-Dr. Ambedkar was one of the first Dalits to obtain a college education…After meetings with the Sri Lankan Buddhist monkHammalawa Saddhatissa, Ambedkar organized a formal public ceremony for himself and his supporters in Nagpur on October 14, 1956. Accepting the Three Refuges and Five Precepts from a Buddhist monk in the traditional manner, Ambedkar completed his own conversion. He then proceeded to convert an estimated 500,000 of his supporters who were gathered around him. (preceding from Wikipedia)
So via the FWBO, Ambedkar Buddhists in India and several scholars of Roma heritage in Hungary who have converted to Buddhism and have taken up Ambedkar’s approach to ameliorating the suffering of a whole group of people new initiatives are underway.  There has been a new high school set up in Hungary that runs on Buddhist principles and numerous other projects are being planned.
This potentially new social movement is in it’s early stages. It will be interesting to see what comes of these efforts. There are many questions that arise from this interaction.
How will Ambedkar’s ideas translate into a European context?
How will these new Buddhist converts be viewed by the larger communities in which they live?
Will the current Buddhist convert establishment in Europe, or elsewhere embrace these new members?
Will these Roma Buddhist converts become outcasts within the larger Roma community due to their conversions?
Will conversion allow them increased access to services that have been denied to them previously?
How will conversion impact current lifestyles of both Roma and non-Roma?
Will people in other minority groups take up conversion also in an attempt to improve their relations with the larger cultures in which they live?
It remains to be seen what will come of this relatively new development. Below are some links to further information.
Links
Ambedkar in Hungary- from The Hindu national newspaper in India (November 22, 2009)
Ambedkarite Buddhism is a blog kept by Ashwin Jangam, an Indian national,  in which he has chronicled the Ambedkarite movement among the Romani in Hungary and his involvement there with non-profit non-governmental Buddhist agencies.
Dr. Ambedkar High School is a Buddhist oriented institute in Hungary where Roma children can further their education without discrimination. FWBO is one of their affiliates.
History of the Romani people from Wikipedia contains some of the scientific studies regarding linguistics and genetics that link the Romani with the Indian sub-continent

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ACLU Files Lawsuit When School Cancels Prom After Lesbian's Request - ABC News

ACLU Files Lawsuit When School Cancels Prom After Lesbian's Request - ABC News

Mississippi: Prom Canceled Over Same-Sex Date Policy



The Itawamba County school district decided Wednesday not to host a high school prom after a lesbian student demanded she be able to attend with her girlfriend. The district’s policy requires that senior prom dates be of the opposite sex. The American Civil Liberties Unionof Mississippi gave the district until Wednesday to change that policy and allow Constance McMillen to escort her girlfriend, who is also a student, to the dance on April 2. Instead, the school board met and issued a statement announcing it would not hold the event “due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events.”
______________________________________
Several years ago I worked for a collections company. At least once a week I would get a caller who couldn't tell me what state they lived in. I figured out that if I asked "Do you live in Mississippi?" they would usually answer yes.  Alabama was my second choice. Just putting that out there. LOL

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The new Buddhist atheism


A book setting out the principles of a pared-down Buddhism has won praise from arch-atheist Christopher Hitchens
In God is Not Great, Christopher Hitchens writes of Buddhism as the sleep of reason, and of Buddhists as discarding their minds as well as their sandals. His passionate diatribe appeared in 2007. So what's he doing now, just three years later, endorsing a book on Buddhism written by a Buddhist?
The new publication is Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. Its author,Stephen Batchelor, is at the vanguard of attempts to forge an authentically western Buddhism. He is probably best known for Buddhism Without Beliefs, in which he describes himself as an agnostic. Now he has decided on atheism, the significance of which is not just that he doesn't believe in transcendent deities, but is also found in his stripping down of Buddhism to the basics.
Reincarnation and karma are rejected as Indian accretions: his study of the historical Siddhartha Gautama – one element in the new book – suggests the Buddha himself was probably indifferent to these doctrines. What Batchelor believes the Buddha did preach were four essentials. First, the conditioned nature of existence, which is to say everything continually comes and goes. Second, the practice of mindfulness, as the way to be awake to what is and what is not. Third, the tasks of knowing suffering, letting go of craving, experiencing cessation and the "noble path". Fourth, the self-reliance of the individual, so that nothing is taken on authority, and everything is found through experience.
It's a moving and thoughtful book that does not fear to challenge. It will cause consternation, not least for its quietly harsh critique of Tibetan Buddhism as authoritarian. It is full of phrases that stick in the mind, such as "religion is life living itself."
Hitchens calls it "honest" and "serious", a model of self-criticism, and an example of the kind of ethical and scientific humanism "in which lies our only real hope". The endorsement makes sense because Batchelor's is an account of Buddhism for "this world alone". His deployment of reason and evidence, coupled to the imperative to remake Buddhism and hold no allegiance to inherited doctrines, would appeal to Hitchens. And not just Hitchens.
For it's also striking that the first date on the tour Batchelor is currently undertaking to launch the book was hosted not by a temple or meditation centre, but by the humanist chaplaincy of Harvard University. Batchelor's preferred term is "secular" Buddhism, but his work clearly appeals to some atheistic humanists – not least Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard.
Epstein sees Batchelor's contributions as part of a trend in contemporary humanism, one he calls the "new humanism". It's a humanism that focuses not so much on assertions and campaigns, as on an attempt to forge a humanly nourishing way of life. When I ask him, Epstein is nervous of the word "spiritual", though he's keen that organised humanism does more than just "sitting around and philosophising." He himself came to humanism after studying Buddhism. He practices meditation. He tells me that Batchelor's bold attempts to remake Buddhism are appreciated in American humanist circles. There is a hunger for it, he explains, from those who recognise the need for community and ritual. A practice of meditation can provide both: community via the concept of sangha – coming together with a common intent or purpose; ritual by the regular need to practice.
Philosophically, it's easy to see how Batchelor's account of Buddhism might appeal to humanists as well. He draws parallels between the Buddha's teaching and existentialism and pragmatism, two 20th-century philosophies that contemporary humanism has drawn on too.
His quest for the historical Buddha is as interesting. I was reminded of the 19th-century quest for the historical Jesus, which both shattered illusions and inspired new kinds of commitment. Perhaps as theologians now read the Bible as an account of what the first Christians made of the "Jesus event", and treat the text as a resource for responding to it afresh, so western Buddhism will come to be seen not as an exercise ininculturation but as a radically new response to the "Buddha event".
There are questions to ask, such as how compatible Buddhism really is with existentialism and pragmatism. Philosophers like Sartre andHeidegger, for example, are not typically celebrated for their compassion, a key ingredient in any Buddhism. For myself, as an agnostic, I was saddened that Batchelor has now definitively opted for atheism: the closure on the transcendent that decision represents felt like a partial turning away from his previous open efforts to discern the nature of things.
But his books have always challenged, in a committed and affecting way. Therein lies their appeal, and long may it continue. Confession of a Buddhist Atheist is engrossing – another window into one man's "life living itself".

Saturday, March 6, 2010

marie osmonds poor gay son killed himself

ROSEANNE BARR


because he had been told how wrong and how sick he was every day of his life by his church and the people in it. Calling that "depression" is a lie!
Yet the Osmonds still talk lovingly about their church, saying nothing about its extremely anti-gay Crusade. Marie also has a gay daughter! Hey, I want her and all the gay kids in the world to know that they are just fine being gay and that they deserve love and respect instead of insults and rebuke! I have gay people in my family and my circle of friends and I am kicking bigot ass and taking names!
That is how its done in my religion---(I have my own religion that I made up for myself and it is a great religion that actually works and respects facts and not fantasy!)
Gerald Lund one of the ex church apostles has three gay kids himself.
Yet, even though the people they say they love the most in all of their public displays and speeches (THEIR KIDS AND FAMILY!!) are gay,-- their own children,for crying out loud- these people cannot find the christian decency and compassion within themselves to stop their hypocritical gay bashing!!
How sickening. I know so many mormon kids who were gay and committed suicide, and I just cannot and will not stay quiet in order to not offend bigots anymore. It is all so terribly depressing.
Marie please don't talk about how your faith in your church has helped you get through this one! Please get some integrity and tell that church of yours that you will leave it and stop giving it ten percent of your money if they don't stop trying to destroy your kids' and all gay people's civil rights and dreams and hopes!!
G-d is trying to use you for something good and this is your opportunity! Your church is wrong and on the wrong wrong wrong side of things! Get as vocal about that as you are about your diet. G-d bless you too, Marie.
Take a hard look at the facts now as you use this very sad time for introspection, healing growth and prayer, and become a strong symbol for loving mothers who make no apologies for hatred against their own kids!

LINK

Friday, March 5, 2010

Charter for Compassion



The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

LINK

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Transgender Buddhist priest shares story

By: Bill McMillan
Posted: 3/4/10
Cheryl Ann Costa is and has been many things — an airman, submarine sailor, coast-to-coast talk radio host, television show co-host, playwright, author, filmmaker, coven priest, co-owner of a fabric shop and an engineer at a major Fortune 500 company.

She was also, at one time, a man.

"I am male, female, one, neither," Costa said.

Costa addressed 40 audience members on Wednesday in Hendricks Chapel with an informal two-hour lecture, consisting of a PowerPoint presentation and a Q-and-A session about her thoughts on gender, sex and spirituality.

Costa is a self-described "crazy yogi." A yogi is a practitioner of various spiritual beliefs that often relates to meditation.

"(Yogis) are at the bleeding edge of spiritual exploration - like a research scientist," she said.

Costa began her PowerPoint with three questions: who are you, what are you and what do you want. She pointed to an audience member and asked, "Who are you?" A voice replied with a name. Costa said names are constricting because they are given by parents. She pointed to another audience members and asked, "What are you?" Another voice said "human." Even the term "human" is limiting, Costa said.

"That's like calling yourself a Volkswagen. Or a Toyota - I can't stop," she joked, referring to Toyota's recent recalls.

A central pull of her presentation concerned the difference between sex and gender, two words that are not interchangeable. Concepts like these "lock you down," she said. Costa went on to mention scientific discoveries about animal gender and statistics about lesbian, gay and transsexual.

"I have those that say, 'What the hell is a Buddhist yogi going to tell me about sex and gender?'" Costa said. "I think the biggest thing is to keep the concept that sex are your body parts, gender is what society says you are, and the spirit side of it says you are not your body and you are the immortal part inside of your body. That's the message that you take away from here - stop believing that you are your body."

Spirituality is outside the constricting concepts of sex and gender, she said. The spirit is the part that you can't touch. She encouraged the audience to "let go of human existence" and delved into her beliefs about reincarnation. Costa went on to describe the hierarchy of beings and realms in Buddhism and the process of enlightenment.

"We've all lived in different realms," she said. "We've all lived in different dimensions."

Costa also spoke about her clairvoyant abilities. She recalled seeing her first ghost at her Uncle Nick's funeral. She described this special trait as being "aware of a larger world around" her.

"If you have unfinished business, take care of it now," she said. "It will bind you here on earth."

Jannae Lehman, secretary of Student Pagan Information Relations and Learning, the pagan student organization partly responsible for the event, said she hoped people would leave with a more open mind.

"She's Buddhist and she's also pagan, so she kind of touches everybody," said Lehman, a senior stage management major. "I mean, how often do you get to talk to a transgender Buddhist nun that has lived the life she has?"

Laura Mateya, a junior environmental studies major, said she took away one particularly important message from the lecture.

"I was very humbled by how much she's been through and how open she was to help us understand," she said. "It's OK to be who you are."

wfmcmill@syr.edu © Copyright 2010 The Daily Orange

Namu Amida Butsu Mantra - 念仏 南無阿弥陀 - Kamimaezu - Nagoya

Anti-Gay GOP CA State Sen. Roy Ashburn Busted For DUI While Leaving Sacramento Gay Bar With Another Man

Anti-gay GOP California state Sen. Roy Ashburn was arrested for DUI yesterday after leaving Faces, a popular Sacramento gay bar, with an unidentified male passenger. Ashburn has been a loud opponent of LGBT rights and has organized and hosted anti-gay marriage rallies for the Traditional Values Coalition. He also has a 100% rating from the anti-gay Capitol Resource Family Impact group for voting against every LGBT rights bill during his tenure.

The California Highway Patrol pulled over Senator Roy Ashburn at 2:00 a.m. Wednesday after an officer noticed a black Chevy Tahoe swerving at 13th and L Streets. When the officer stopped the state-issued vehicle, the driver identified himself as Senator Ashburn. He was arrested without incident and charged with two misdemeanors: driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol level higher than .08% or higher. A male passenger, who was not identified as a lawmaker, was also in the car but was not detained. Ashburn was booked into the Sacramento County Jail and released on $1,400 bond. Ashburn, a father of four, is a Republican Senator representing parts of Kern, Tulare and San Bernardino Counties with a history of opposing gay rights. Ashburn issued a statement on the arrest Wednesday afternoon: "I am deeply sorry for my actions and offer no excuse for my poor judgment. I accept complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the consequences for what I did. I am also truly sorry for the impact this incident will have on those who support and trust me – my family, my constituents, my friends, and my colleagues in the Senate."

See the rest at Joe.My.God